Newfound Clarity

Anyone that has undergone a health scare experiences newfound clarity. This particular clarity comes when you get a life changing diagnosis. After all, without health there isn’t life. Whether it’s cancer, a heart attack or lupus, life changes from that moment on. It’s like a light bulb goes on and you realize all the small stuff that you thought was important now becomes insignificant. There isn’t time or patience for pointless drama. 

The medical tests come back with unexpected results, suddenly your world has turned on its axis and everything is upside down. Sometimes it’s literally a matter of life and death, other times there’s lifestyle changes mandatory for survival. Possibilities are limited. Activities are limited. There’s uncertainty that comes with any health crisis. How will you feel.. How is it going to affect your family… How will it change your work schedule… How will you get to doctor appointments… there are so many variables it makes your head spin. The heavy blanket of fear and uncertainty sets in as you examine all the horrible possibilities. The what if’s start.. What if I die? How much time do I have? Who will take care of my child?

With that life changing diagnosis, the world around you falls away and there’s a shift in priorities. Without health everything else is meaningless. Lucidity takes over, life slows down, you take the time to put life in perspective. And so the transformation begins. The active healthy life you had taken for granted becomes forever changed, part of the past. I once was too busy to pay attention to the little things in life. But, it’s the little things that we take for granted that are the most important! The car you drive or the house you live in become just things and things can wait, people can’t. Family, friends and love become priorities, no longer careers or money. What kind of car you drive, having the biggest house on the block, designer clothes and the most popular vacation destination are no longer goals. Your new goal is survival!

It’s like life has suddenly come into focus, the nonsense falls away. Having a chronic illness has brought newfound clarity to my life. Fatigue is a big factor since I’m easily exerted due to my lupus condition so adjustments are made to how I live my life. Live is the key word, living with limitations. The world turns a little more slowly for me these days. 

Peace is a priority. 

I’m grateful for every day, good or bad, feeling blessed to have another day. I’m happy I’m alive. 

I’ve learned to savor everyday things like a delicious meal, children’s laughter, a butterfly floating from flower to flower, and the warmth of a hug that fills your soul. I literally stop to smell the flowers. 

I try to be a good person by helping others whether it’s listening to a friend or making dinner for family. 

My perspective is that the best things in life are free: memories, love, friends, family and laughter. 

My pearls of wisdom: 

The best thing you can do is to keep going, don’t give up. 

Don’t leave words unsaid. It’s not enough to assume they know you love them. 

The future is promised to no one. 

Nourish yourself and the loved ones around you. 

Celebrate life by making memories!

Open your eyes, everyone struggles with something. Slow down and be present to one another whether it’s a friend or stranger. We get so busy doing this or that we take the people in our lives for granted. The material things are fluff, as the old saying goes, you can’t take it with you! What you can leave behind, when our time on earth is done, are the people and places that have been changed by our presence. Yes, accomplishments are important. But, the important parts of life are the people you love, the memories you share and the lives you touch along the way. 

Michele Palermo

Michele is a retired registered nurse who spent 15 years in Emergency Medicine. That's where she learned there's a fragility to life. Diagnosed with lupus, after going through a divorce, taught her to be a survivor instead of a victim. With her career shortened by illness she turned to books. She fell in love with the written word as a young child. To her, words convey emotion. Her new passion is writing. As an aspiring author, she hopes to inspire others on this roller coaster called life.

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